T Nation

Ramping on 5x5?


Due to CT's new article, I was re-evaluating my current program, and just had a question.

Do most of you ramp your weights?

I've been on Stronglift's 5x5 for about 3 months now, and for the big lifts I usually have 4-5 sets of progressively higher weights to warm up, then 5 sets with a "max" load that I am able to complete 25 total reps of. Assuming good technique and all reps completed, my next workout will have a slightly higher "max"

According to the new article, and judging from most of the comments, this is wrong. It appears that most people using a 5x5 consider the lower warm up sets as part of your 5x5?

I guess if you are only using one set at a high weight you could potentially use more weight, but if your system doesn't respond to only 5 reps of a high weight as opposed to a higher volume, won't you be spinning in the dirt?


I did Stronglift a couple months ago and I'd always do what he calls "feel sets" rather instinctively.
Now if you look at Stronglift advanced, which is the one I was doing, there are some day where it's a ramp up of 5x5 with the last set being the hardest and other days where the it's straight sets with a weight that is higher than your minimum on ramp up but lower than the max set, so you got 5 equal sets with a more average weight. It worked pretty well and I'd always accelerate the bar as fast as I could for every rep of every set.

I wouldn't do just straight sets tho it's harder to progress if you wait until you can do 5 sets with the same weight before going heavier.

Anyway as he said in the article, you don't do just one "real" set. Every sets counts IF you push the bar as fast as humanly possible and control the weight down without going piston-pumping.


Nothing wrong with sets across. It's proven tried and true.


Of course, it's good for a total beginner, but when you progress beyond total beginner, I don't think you can keep on progressing much farther with straight sets.

I doubt (note: doubt) many bodybuilders use lots of straight sets without going up in weight.
Why? because many go by feel and don't say: "ok, today I'm doing exactly this weight for 5 sets straight and no more, even if it feels easier than I thought." It just defies common sense.
As Thib has said, many big guys trains the way he described by instinct. And I'm sure he's seen a lot of big guys.


True, but many powerlifters train that way. If your programming is right, I don't see any reason why you can't use sets across into the advanced level. I'm not talking about doing a 5x5 3x a week routine, I'm talking about a balance of volume, intensity, and recovery time specific to the athlete's level of performance.


how much do you guys increase the weights when you ramp. iv been trying the whole ramping thing recently and i do

15 x bar
12 x 60% 1 rep max
10 x 70% 1rm
8 x 75% 1rm
6 x 85 1rm

But it seems no matter how heavy i lift, im not as wasted as i am when i did straight sets...If anyone has a better suggestion let me know.


Maybe it's time to re-test your 1rm. Sounds like you simply got stronger or you're rest intervals are too long.


Im not professing to be an expert, this is just a guess. Maybe that is a positive not being so wasted? it may reduce your overtraining from straight sets at high intensity and actually stimulate the fibres without too much exhaustion on the body.

Im not sure, i was doing straight sets too, but im going to ramp on bench tonight and ill see how i feel.

If you feel fresh after that 85% set wack more on and go for 3 reps etc etc.


Yeah to be fair I do 5/3/1 right now so while I do ramp up my main lifts, I use the same weight for assistance exercises.
Using the same weight can be tricky tho because you might pick a weight that's ok for set 1 but too much for set 5. You really have to experiment and be ready to drop the weight if you overestimate your capacity to do a lot of volume.


True, but lots of people train lots of different ways.

Still, every successful bodybuilder and powerlifter that I've seen train ramped on their major exercises for size and strength.

I was lucky enough to train in an awesome gym that had a lot of national-level competitors early in my training.

I'm not saying that one can't get big or strong using straight sets, but ramping is more condusive to lifting heavier which is what most should be after whether they want to build size or strength.